How the Midwest and South Gave Truman His Razor-Thin 1948 Victory

He won the support of Roosevelt’s “New Deal” coalition: labor, Blacks, Jews, farmers from the Midwest, and a number of southern states. Introduction Democratic Party’s poor showing in the 1946 mid-term congressional elections—in which the Republican Party took control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives for the first time since 1928—considerably dimmed[…]

The Remarkable Success of Midwestern Front Porch Campaigns from Garfield to Harding

By 1840, William Henry Harrison became the first presidential candidate to tour and give speeches to adoring throngs. By Jeffrey Normand Bourdon The ways that presidential candidates have reached out to voters over the course of US History have changed partly because the franchise has been opened to more people so more voter participation in[…]

Voices, Votes, Victory: Presidential Campaign Songs since George Washington

Lyrics ranged from broad satire to sincere political expression, demonstrating just how effective a messenger music can be. Early Rally Songs “Washington’s March” America’s earliest presidential elections were simple contests in which the candidate who garnered the most votes won. With impassioned partisan races yet to emerge, political songs were expressions of patriotism. “The Favorite[…]

Temple of Liberty: Building the Capitol for a New Nation

All the participants recognized they were creating America’s most important public building. Introduction George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were determined that the United States Capitol be a meaningful expression of America’s new political and social order. The Constitution, ratified in 1788, had given the country its governing structure; the Capitol, begun three years later, was[…]

James Madison’s Role in Ratifying the Constitution and Adopting the Bill of Rights

Examining the most significant Madison holographs related to the drafting and ratification of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Madison’s Family Tree According to the editors of his papers, James Madison prepared this family tree between 1813 and 1819. His father, James Madison, Sr. (1723-1801), and his mother, Nelly Conway Madison (1732-1829), were married[…]

A Biography of Benjamin Franklin from the American Revolution

Even after his death in 1790, Franklin remained an American celebrity. Introduction Born in Boston on January 17, 1706, young Franklin struck out on his own in 1723, eventually finding employment as a journeyman printer in Philadelphia. Franklin’s newspaper The Pennsylvania Gazette, his Poor Richard’s Almanack, and work as an inventor and scientist propelled him[…]